The Bavarians are generally cheerful and open-minded people, even though this is often not considered to be the case. They prefer to describe themselves as cosmopolitan, which is primarily based on the multicultural roots of the Bavarians. Despite this they are a little bit sceptical about strangers at first. If you observe the following instructions, you will probably be taken into the hearts of the locals.
While “Guten Tag” (good day) and “Auf Wiedersehen” (goodbye) are German greetings, in Bavaria one says “Grüß Gott” (greet God), “Habe die Ehre” (I have the honour) or "Servus” (see you). A personal welcome with a handshake is usual. At the regular customers’ table (-> Regular customers’ table) everyone bangs the table as a greeting.
In Bavaria beer is the so-called “staple food”. However, this doesn’t mean that we are all drinking beer constantly and everywhere. Consumption is generally described as an indulgence. As Bavarian beer usually has higher original gravity (and therefore a greater volume of alcohol) than other beer, it should be consumed with caution.
The beer belly
The beer belly is often a sign of many years of beer consumption and frequent visits to the pub. It’s purely a male phenomenon. However, men with such a belly are not called “fat” but “cheerful”.
The “Dirndl “
This is the name for either the traditional Bavarian dress for women or a young woman herself. The Dirndl is chiefly worn for cultural and social events. The usually very short Dirndl dresses are not generally regarded as an invitation. Starring at a generous cleavage is rude.
Bavarian cuisine is very hearty, largely meat-based and is not so good for keeping slim. Some specialities such as “Breze” (pretzels), “Schweinshaxe” (knuckle of pork) or “Weißwurst” (white sausage) are world famous, but require a certain “eating code” (see “Weißwurst”).
There is always a reason to celebrate in Bavaria. Particularly from March to October there are many small and large village and folk festivals or traditional events. They are primarily to take pride in local customs, have an enjoyable get-together but also to promote international understanding. The celebrations usually take place in large tents and the beer is drunk out of “Maß’n” (large jugs holding a litre).
The King (Bavarian Kini)
A popular subject in Bavaria is definitely the history of King Ludwig II and his fairy-tale castles. The legends surrounding his mysterious death usually lead to heated discussions.
The “Lederhose” (leather breeches)
It’s the male equivalent of the Dirndl. The Lederhose is also worn for special occasions and is enjoying growing popularity, even for non-Bavarians. For this reason, it’s become relatively difficult to identify a local merely from the Lederhose.
It’s usually made of “Loden” (coarse woollen material) and is a bit like a Bavarian smoking jacket. The traditional costume is generally worn by VIPs at official events.
Bavarians enjoy cultivated conversation and reflecting on existential and political matters. Disputes generally arise when a certain point of view is put forward or defended. However, excessively loud conversations or notorious know-alls are not popular.
How do you eat a Weißwurst correctly? Definitely with Breze (pretzel), sweet mustard and a wheat beer. It doesn’t matter whether it’s with cutlery, your fingers, bitten off or cut into slices - the main thing is without any ketchup.
The Bavarian language is often difficult to understand for people who are not from Bavaria. The same words often have different meanings with a different emphasis. The dialect and accent also sometimes vary from one village to another. The open-minded Bavarians will generally try to speak comprehensibly if you ask them to do so politely.
The regulars’ table
A tradition where local men meet in a local pub usually in the evenings to talk over a beer. This custom can be seen more frequently in the countryside, while it has almost died out in the towns. It’s an absolute taboo to sit down at a regulars’ table without being invited to do so. Anyone who has been invited is almost already a regular.
Sunday remains a day of rest in Bavaria. Most shops are closed on Sundays and very few people work. However, going to Church every Sunday and the subsequent visit to the regulars’ table are increasingly a thing of the past.
“Mia san mia” is a popular Bavarian saying, but it shouldn’t be understood as coming across as arrogant. Basically, it merely means that the Bavarians are just as they are - with all their idiosyncratic characteristics. When a Bavarian says “Passt scho” it means that everything is all right.
Despite all the Bavarian peculiarities, living together freely is based on the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. The basic rights regulate peaceful get-togethers and give every citizen the same rights. The saying “Human dignity is sacrosanct” applies.